Naledi Sande Arts Reporter
The ninth edition of Zimbabwe’s biggest annual national dance competition, Jikinya Dance Festival, will take place this weekend in Mutare and will be headlined by electro house singer Takura Tendayi and World Championships gold medalist Denzel “Probeatz” Mashonganyika.
The festival will see dance groups and dancers from each of the country’s 10 provinces showcasing their talent.
Running under the theme “Empowerment”, Jibilika Dance Festival promotes diverse dance cultures with the aim of enhancing cultural appreciation, growth, employment creation and youth engagement.
Director of the Jibilika Dance Trust, Plot Mhako said the weekend will have a dance business workshop which will help the dancers transform their art into a viable and sustainable business.
“The workshop will empower them with knowledge on how to transform their art into a business and the festival itself will give them a lot of exposure,” said Mhako
Jibilika is the biggest urban dance festival in Zimbabwe which brings together 15 dance groups and 40 solo dancers from all provinces.
Mhako said the preparations are at advanced stage and the financial hardships the Trust had earlier faced have been dealt with.
“We had to come up with contingency plans to make sure the festival happens and is a success.
“We are busing in 140 artists, accommodating and feeding them for three days so that is how big the task is in terms of funding,” Mhako said.
He added that the Trust has received sponsorship from companies such as G-Tel, Ruffkart Africa and Spar who are also giving away consolation prizes to the contestants.
Mhako said that the festival has improved in the level of talent as this year there will be better dancers.
He said, “This year’s festival has improved in terms of talent, creativity and programming content as we have a more empowering festival program with workshops and trainings.
Other artistes that will be performing at the festival include the world grand champion guitarist Sylent Nqo, Flexxo, Mk47 and Sharky.
The festival was founded in 2007 with the thrust to stimulate dance as a vehicle for cultural development, youth engagement and to develop talent while entertaining.
Every year the festival runs under a different theme that guides the content and the outcome. Participants are selected through provincial preliminary auditions, which are held for over four months across the country in search of the best.